A frequent visitor to the city of Nizams, Karthik calls Hyderabad his second home. The singer with a large portfolio of Telugu songs was recently in the city to receive an award for his song in Baahubali. “I have sung so many songs in Telugu, in fact some of my best songs are in Telugu,” says Karthik.
“I come from a middle class family with no music background and I was all set to become a chartered accountant. It’s just that I met the right kind of people at the right time and they did the magic for me. Singer Mano and Singer Srinivas are few people I owe,” says Karthik.
Trained in Carnatic and Hindustani classical music, Karthik loves to explore. “I am not a rebel but I am a very restless person by nature and I came into the industry with no expectation, have nothing to lose, don’t have to prove anything to anyone. If you give me 10 bucks I will try and give 100 bucks’ worth and impress you, that’s in my DNA,” says Karthik.
Known as the blue eyed boy of A.R. Rahman, he recorded his first song with the maestro at the age of 20. “Rahman was looking for a fresh voice and he normally asks Srinu (singer Srinivas). Srinu introduced me to him. And getting two-three songs from A.R. Rahman is the biggest endorsement one could ask for,” he says.
A premium band, playback in over six different languages, composing jingles, unique collaborations and KME (Karthik Music Experience). When does he get the time? “There are times I fumble with prioritising things but somehow so far I have been able to strike a balance,” says Karthik
“ARKA (his band) has a very niche audience and the music we play is very serious and intense. We have had the honour of performing in front of stalwarts like Zakir Hussain, Shankar Mahadevan, Hariharan and others. I feel in the industry things can become redundant and one needs to keep exploring to keep the creative self alive and that’s how ARKA and KME happened.
“Karthik Music Experience happened over a cup of coffee with Anil Srinivasan (pianist). I am obsessed with live performances. I wanted to design a good two-hour music therapy live show that cuts across age groups — be it an eight year old or an eighty year old.
Talking about his style and music, he says, “Even though I am trained in both styles, my inclination is towards Hindustani. I end up giving Carnatic kritis also with a Hindustani feel. I somehow love ragas with komal notes (like Malkauns, Jog Kauns), which I feel are more intense. And this is where I cherish my learning with my guru Ustad Ghulam Niyaz Khan Saheb, who is my creative partner. His way of teaching me is to trigger my creative senses”.
With so many interests, what would define Karthik? “Arka is my passion, KME is my fancy baby, playback singing is me” concludes Karthik....